Wednesday, April 25, 2018
News Roundup

Hillsborough judge pleads guilty to DUI, gets probation

LARGO — Hillsborough Circuit Judge Tracy Sheehan was sentenced to a year of probation and 50 hours of community service Friday after pleading guilty to DUI.

Sheehan's appearance before Pinellas County Judge Patrick Caddell was not a surprise. Sheehan never denied that she drove drunk one night this summer after having drinks in Ybor City.

Hours after her July 5 arrest, the 53-year-old judge, who hears family law, divorce and probate cases in Plant City, issued a statement and told reporters she made a "horrible, poor choice."

Just before noon Friday, Sheehan walked into court with her lawyer, Stephen Romine, and formally admitted guilt.

A gaggle of journalists and TV cameras, who set up 45 minutes before the hearing started, were nearby. The hearing lasted six minutes.

Caddell asked Sheehan if she understood her plea.

"Absolutely," she answered.

Did she have any questions?

"None from me, sir," she said.

Caddell listed the punishments. In addition to the community service and probation, which will automatically terminate once Sheehan has completed her duties, the judge will have restricted driving privileges and must pay a fine of about $1,500.

"The same as thousands of others that have come before … and will probably follow," Caddell said. "Live and learn."

Sheehan already completed DUI school and substance abuse screening, Romine said.

"She's an excellent judge and this doesn't change that," he said. "She's a human like everybody else."

Sheehan, first elected to the bench in 2007, is known for having a soft spot for kids. She once donated $100,000 to build a children's shelter after surviving cancer. Hillsborough Circuit Chief Judge Manuel Menendez Jr. said he has no plans to discipline Sheehan outside of what she already faces. Other judges in similar circumstances have received the same type of treatment.

Sheehan declined to speak to reporters Friday. As she left the courtroom, the media scrambled to follow.

"These guys know there's a double homicide sentencing going on upstairs?" Caddell said.

Kameel Stanley can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 893-8643.

Comments
Trinity teen killed in crash remembered as

Trinity teen killed in crash remembered as "positive" and "smiling"

TRINITY — Friends said they will remember Lillia Morris, who was killed Tuesday in a car crash, as always smiling.Morris, 17, was killed after a 2008 Chevrolet SUV ran a red light and slammed into her car at State Road 54 and Duck Slough Boulevard.Ka...
Updated: 7 minutes ago
Watch: Pasco SRO under investigation after takedown of student

Watch: Pasco SRO under investigation after takedown of student

The video, which surfaced on Twitter and was later released by the Sheriff’s Office, shows the officer grabbing the student by the arm in the cafeteria, then taking her to the ground.Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco identified the officer Wednesday a...
Updated: 11 minutes ago
Armed carjacking suspect on the run in Hillsborough

Armed carjacking suspect on the run in Hillsborough

PLANT CITY — Multiple law enforcement agencies are searching for an armed man who may be responsible for a string of Wednesday morning carjackings, including one that involved gunfire, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.The man was...
Updated: 16 minutes ago
Hernando schools superintendent ‘pink-slipped’ by public following firing of 47 teachers at Moton Elementary

Hernando schools superintendent ‘pink-slipped’ by public following firing of 47 teachers at Moton Elementary

BROOKSVILLE –– A room full of people wearing purple erupted in frustration before Hernando County school officials Tuesday night, scolding Superintendent Lori Romano for her recent firing of 47 teachers at Moton Elementary, which has been struggling ...
Updated: 19 minutes ago
Springstead baseball isn’t easing into districts

Springstead baseball isn’t easing into districts

SPRING HILL — With the high school baseball regular season ending this week, some teams like to dial down their schedule in preparation for district play.Springstead is more than happy to be doing the opposite. With two games against HomeTeam t...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Hernando school officials deny Chehuntamo charter school on second try

Hernando school officials deny Chehuntamo charter school on second try

BROOKSVILLE — The Hernando County School Board on Tuesday denied the 2019 opening of Chehuntamo Advanced Performance High School, a charter school proposed by the same group that applied once before in 2017.The team behind the school, said to be for ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
A bittersweet farewell for Rams baseball

A bittersweet farewell for Rams baseball

NEW PORT RICHEY — This week alone, Larry Beets has bid farewell to two longtime homes.He and wife Donna, who are transitioning to a villa at Tampa Bay Golf & Country Club, are completing the sale of the Hudson house they shared for nearly a hal...
Updated: 1 hour ago
UCF student from Hillsborough, one other accused of rape; fraternity suspended

UCF student from Hillsborough, one other accused of rape; fraternity suspended

ORLANDO — A University of Central Florida student from Hillsborough County and a fellow fraternity member face charges after they were accused of raping a woman at a party.That fraternity has since been placed on interim suspension.Orange County Sher...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Yelp search results reflect racist stereotype that Asian restaurants serve cat and dog

Yelp search results reflect racist stereotype that Asian restaurants serve cat and dog

A strange thing happened when typing "dog menu" into the restaurant ratings website and app Yelp. It automatically generated suggested searches. There were dog massage, hot dogs, pet groomers. Also: "dog meat." But it got more disturbing. Take Yelp...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Hernando School Board okays second district-wide survey to evaluate superintendent

Hernando School Board okays second district-wide survey to evaluate superintendent

BROOKSVILLE — A second district-wide survey to evaluate the performance of Superintendent Lori Romano soon will go out to about 3,000 Hernando County School District employees, giving them a chance to weigh in on the job she is doing.The instrument, ...
Updated: 2 hours ago